I guess I'll say something about last night's gun massacre in Las Vegas, now confirmed to be the deadliest in modern American history -- all of one year after the previous record was broken in Orlando. Orlando felt much more personal to me as a gay person, as it happened at a gay club. At present there is no known motivation for what happened in Vegas.
What saddens me most about the news today is how desensitized I feel to it. It would be a different story if I were there, or if I knew any of those people. I wasn't, and I don't, so it's just another story about another huge number of people senselessly gunned down in a country that refuses to take action no matter how many times this happens, or how many people get killed. Not even when the massacre is against children. How long before this happens somewhere I'm actually at? The more time goes on the more it seems like the chances of that happening increases.
I was thinking in terms of extrapolation this morning. How many people are enduring heart-wrenching grief over these losses? Let's just choose a relatively arbitrary, but in my mind still realistic number: let's say each of the 58 people confirmed (so far) dead have a hundred loved ones, or people close to them in one way or another: family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, all with this hole now in their lives. That's five thousand, eight hundred people. 58 deaths is a shocking number to be sure, but the people impacted, whose lives are permanently altered for the worse, is exponentially larger.
And this country does nothing but continue on fetishizing guns. I can't see any other way to see it besides it's insane. And the guy we have occupying the White House -- he literally joked during his campaign that he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and not lose votes. That's the guy supposedly in the position of Leader of the Free World. To call that dismaying is an understatement.
Okay. Enough of that shit. Back to reporting on my daily life.
Outside of Laney's 60th birthday party on Saturday evening, my weekend was fairly uneventful. I mean, most of it was spent preparing for the party before it occurred -- especially on Friday evening, which Shobhit and I spent most of doing prep work. We did the pumpkin pies that evening, so they could chill in the refrigerator overnight. Shobhit used his pressure cooker, one of the kitchen cooking devices he uses most frequently, as it saves time, for the fresh pumpkin. I continue to marvel at how well those pumpkin pies turned out. Anyway, we also got the samosas all done except for the deep frying, so we just spent maybe an hour on that on Saturday and that was all we had to do that day before the party.
So, the three of us -- including Ivan -- watched my Netflix Blu-Ray copy of Rosemary's Baby that late morning / early afternoon. I wanted to see it again, as I had only seen it once in a theatrical reissue nearly a decade ago -- November 5, 2008, to be exact. I wanted to see it again after every single review I read of mother! mentioned how it was clearly influenced by, among way too many other things, Rosemary's Baby. It's interesting to see now that, after seeing it with Barbara in 2008, "We were both very impressed." Because "very impressed" is not quite the phrase I would use now. More like "bewildered" -- much as I was after seeing mother!, although only the latter movie turns the volume on its chaos up to 11 for the last quarter or so of the run time. Rosemary's Baby is a lot less chaotic, but no less jarring. It ended on Saturday and I just said, "What a strange movie." Spoiler alert! (The movie came out in 1968, for fuck's sake.) It literally ends with everyone, including the mother herself, just accepting that this is Satan's spawn.
Shobhit had two work shifts yesterday, after deliberately taking the entire day off on Saturday for Laney's birthday, so I saw far less of him. Ivan and I watched another movie -- this time his Netflix DVD copy of the lighthearted 1998 movie Practical Magic, in which Nicole Kidman, Sandra Bullock, Stockard Channing and Diane Wiest all play witches -- and witches have always been one of Ivan's favorite things. That has to be the only reason he apparently really likes this movie; which I always find to be just okay. It's not so terrible as some critics want to characterize it (Entertainment Weekly gave it a D, which is ridiculous; I'd give it a C+ at worst, and lean more toward B-), but I do have this same experience every time I watch it: it could have been so much better, and it's frustrating how it insists on remaining in unnecessary mediocrity. It would be far worse without Stockard Channing and Diane Wiest as the elder witches.
I know I just watched that movie not that long ago -- sometime within the last couple of years, I want to say -- but I can't for the life of me figure out when I watched it. It's not on my DVD rental activity or viewing history on my Netflix account, so it must have been streaming somewhere else, on Hulu or HBO Go. Those apps don't offer viewing history, which is annoying. In any case, whenever the fuck it was that I watched it not that long ago, I remember thinking basically, Meh. But, I was happy to watch it again with Ivan anyway.
And then when Practical Magic ended, Ivan had invited me to go with him to this Taste of Russia Food Bazaar happening over the weekend at St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral, which is all of two blocks from our building. Its characteristic onion-shaped domes are easily visible from our rooftop decks, but I never have them in photos I take from up there because the church is to the northwest and my shots are always focused on the downtown skyline either directly west or southwest.
Ivan has an inexplicable fascination, bordering on obsession, with Russia and Russian culture. Ivan even isn't his birth name; it's one he chose for himself, and it is easily informed by this fascination. He has the hots for more Slavic guys than any other nationality, and even follows a Facebook group called Squatting Slavs in Tracksuits. He even wears almost exclusively tracksuit pants or shorts when not in scrubs for work anymore. (He looks very good in them though.) He happily gleans over it whenever I mention anything along the lines of what a homophobic culture they are now widely known to be -- he's still eager to visit one day. And when we were walking to St. Nicholas Cathedral, half a block away a small family passed us on the sidewalk speaking Russian. "Russians!" he whispered to me, pointing at them, in mild delight.
The event itself was . . . okay. There was a long line for a small menu of Russian food items, only a couple of them vegetarian, that went into a structure behind the church, which we never went into. Once that line got us about halfway through its length, we were both looking at a booth for "Blinchiki" -- Russian crepes -- which appealed better to both of us. So we moved over there, and even that took a while. These people clearly did not do this sort of thing often, and a young pregnant blonde lady taking orders did little to keep things moving very quickly. I only managed to get my order taken because I stepped up to ask if I could get my veggie Blinchiki without avocado, and then I ordered that; another lady managed to take an order after me but before Ivan. This meant that once I finally got my crepe, I had it half eaten before Ivan even got his.
There was a small booth of Russian knickknacks for sale (including, of course, a bunch of Russian nesting dolls), which we had looked at very briefly, and on our way out Ivan asked if I wanted to take a look inside the church itself. We both had our paper plates in hand and no one was eating in there, so we just stood for a moment outside the door to take a look inside. It was very pretty, and also a chorus was singing a very pretty song. But, that was a brief interlude on our way back out after Ivan said, as soon as he got his plate, "Shall we go back home?" There was no place to sit down to eat, that we could see, so that seemed the only logical option. We were only there for, I don't know, twenty minutes? Half an hour? And easily 90% of that time was just waiting in line. But I did get a very tasty crepe for $8.99.
After another couple of hours, I left again, to meet Laney at Light Rail and go downtown to see the Final Cut version of the original Blade Runner at the Cinerama -- which was spectacular. Seeing it on the Cinerama screen gave it a newness of experience I had not had since seeing it for the first time in the nineties. There were several instances of small visual details that could only be noticed on a cinema screen, like when Deckard takes a sip out of a shot glass and blood leaks into the liquid out of his mouth. Laney and I both really, really enjoyed it.
I was bummed to discover, on our walk from Westlake Station to the theatre via Fifth Avenue, that Icon Grill has closed. I always had kind of a special place in my heart for that place, even though they had almost nothing for me to eat. But I ate there a few times over the first few years I lived in Seattle, including taking Dad and Sherri to dinner there once before going to see a play with them. My first apartment in Seattle, the studio I lived in on 5th and Blanchard for six years between 1998 and 2004 when I moved in with Shobhit, was on the opposite end of the same block as Cinerama -- and thus two blocks from where Icon Grill was on the corner of 5th and Virginia.
That Komo News article reveals a little something about how little I apparently pay attention: it's been closed since the end of January! I did see the "notice of proposed use land action" and there is apparently now a 47-story high-rise slated for construction on that corner. There has been a lot of high-rises built either incredibly close to or on the very same block as my old apartment down there, and this one would be by far the tallest of them, at 535 feet dwarfing the 449-ft Westin Hotel across the street from it on Fifth Avenue.
I talked to Laney a bit about how excited I've always been by skyscrapers, and still am by and large, but this whiplash-inducing rate of development in Seattle over the past decade, and particularly the past half-decade, also leaves me feeling at least slightly uneasy. Sometimes there can be too much of a good thing. On the other hand: whatever. Change, regardless of its rate, is always inevitable, and I do accept that. I just wish all these new high-rises had more architectural distinction than any of them seem to have.